Last weekend, my friend Jess brought a pitcher of fudge sauce to Seth’s Easter cookout. She wanted to be ready, in case anyone brought ice cream as their contribution. Sadly, no one was inspired to bring a frozen dessert, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the fudge sauce. Standing around the kitchen talking, I eyed the white pitcher housing the semi-liquid chocolate. After ten minutes of half-distracted talking, I had had enough. I announced, “I’m sorry, but my finger is crying out for a little enhancement.” My friends shot me looks of momentary confusion that were soon replaced with expressions of knowing understanding. Soon everyone had availed themselves of the chocolate sauce (I do so enjoy being the trailblazer), and we started talking about chocolate fondue. The idea was floated that one night we should just have chocolate fondue for dinner, because you can’t adequately enjoy it if it’s following a full meal.
Somehow one night became tonight. Five of us gathered around a pot of warm, semi liquid chocolate, strawberries, pineapple, oranges, apples, peanut butter filled pretzels, marshmallows and poundcake and ate ourselves silly. (See the pictures here).
My recipe for chocolate fondue is really simple. I create a makeshift double boiler out of a old cooking pot and a stainless steel bowl. The secret to a double boiler is that the bottom of the bowl can not be touching the water in the pot, the heat to melt the chocolate needs to come from the steam that the boiling water releases. As long as you remember that rule, your double boiler will never fail. I pour about 8-10 ounces of half and half or cream into the bowl (most recipes you find will call for cream, but Trader Joe’s was out of it today, and I wasn’t about to run around to find someplace else that carried it) and start to heat it. I then add a whole lot of chopped chocolate (I used a pound and a half tonight) to the milk. I buy the hunks of Ghirardelli’s that they sell at Trader Joe’s for $3.49 a pound and comes in varying sizes. I tend to do 1 part milk chocolate to 2 parts dark or semi-sweet. I whisk and it melts. When all the chocolate has melted, I pour in a good shot of Frangelico (hazelnut flavored liqueur), because I have two large bottles of it still left from my grandparents, and I’m always looking for ways to use it up. You can throw in any liqueur (anything fruit or nut flavored is good), or skip it all together.
The chocolate is done when it is smooth and really glossy. You can serve it in a fondue pot (three tea lights under the pot will keep it as warm as you need it to be if there is a dirth of sterno in your life) or you can stand in the kitchen with glasses of wine and eat it straight out of the double boiler on the stove with pretzels and hunks of pineapple (we ate it both ways tonight).
It is so (SO) very good (there isn’t much that wouldn’t be good when dipped in warm, melted chocolate, although I’m sure you all could think of something).